Support Centre

You have out of 5 free articles left for the month

Signup for a trial to access unlimited content.

Start Trial

Continue reading on DataGuidance with:

Free Member

Limited Articles

Create an account to continue accessing select articles, resources, and guidance notes.

Free Trial

Unlimited Access

Start your free trial to access unlimited articles, resources, guidance notes, and workspaces.

USA: AGs announce $10.25M settlement with wireless carriers for deceptive advertising

On May 9, 2024, the Arkansas Attorney General (AG) announced that Arkansas would receive $104,246.46 as part of a $10.25 million, 50-jurisdiction settlement with AT&T Mobility LLC, Cricket Wireless LLC (part of AT&T Inc.), T-Mobile USA, Inc., TracFone Wireless, Inc., and Cellco Partnership, d/b/a Verizon Wireless (collectively referred to as Wireless Carriers), resolving the investigations into the Wireless Carriers' deceptive and misleading advertising practices.

Background to the settlement

The investigation was related to the advertising, marketing, and sales practices of the Wireless Carriers and considered whether these practices comply with the consumer protection and trade practice statutes and regulations of the states.

Findings

The Wireless Carriers agreed to the settlement with the participating states to resolve the matter amicably, however, they deny that they were engaged in unlawful or otherwise inappropriate business practices. Under the terms of the settlement, the Wireless Carriers will be required to, among other things:

  • ensure that all future advertisements and representations are truthful, accurate, and not misleading;
  • refer in marketing to 'unlimited' mobile data plans only when such plans do not set any numerical limits on the quantity of data allowed during a billing cycle and clearly and conspicuously disclose any restrictions on data speed, as well as the triggers of such restrictions;
  • offer to pay for consumers to switch carriers only when they clearly and conspicuously disclose the type of fees and amounts that they will pay consumers, the form and schedule that such payment will take, and all material requirements that consumers must satisfy in order to qualify for and receive such payment;
  • offer wireless devices or services for free or similar terms only when they disclose clearly and conspicuously all material terms and conditions that the consumer must meet in order to receive the free devices or services;
  • make offers to lease wireless devices only when the company makes clear that the consumer will be entering into a lease agreement;
  • make representations that a consumer will save money by purchasing its products or services only when it has a reasonable basis to do so based on comparisons with the prices of comparable goods or services of other providers, or where any material differences between those goods or services are clearly and conspicuously disclosed;
  • appoint a dedicated employee to work with the AGs to address ordinary complaints filed by consumers; and
  • train its customer service representatives who speak with consumers to comply with these terms and implement and enforce a program to ensure compliance with the settlement terms.

Outcomes

In light of the above, Arkansas will receive $104,246.46 as part of the $10.25 million 50-state settlement. More specifically Arkansas will receive the following:

  • $49,017.04 from T-Mobile USA;
  • $30,125.14 from Verizon Wireless; and
  • $25,104.28 from AT&T.

You can read the press release by the Arkansas AG here, the Hawaii AG here, the Columbia AG here, and the Oregon AG here.